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Opinion

It wasn’t long ago in our area it seemed as if new real estate and construction offices were popping up on a regular basis, blooming from the warmth of an overheated housing market. Today, it appears we have more new vacant commercial spaces than actual new businesses. One of the few exceptions is the increase of sweepstakes establishments. The town of Franklin however, has apparently decided that this isn’t the right kind of business and has voted to impose licensing fees that transcend mere taxation - rising to a level of punitive fines. It’s been reported that sweepstakes establishments within town limits will not only have to pay a $2,600 annual fee - an additional $1,000 per machine surcharge is being added for the privilege of conducting business.

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RALEIGH – Election filing is over. Now the fun really begins, with what some around the state capital refer to as the silly season.

We can now look forward to stump speeches where candidates slip up and speak of visiting all 50 counties. We can enjoy mailboxes packed with fliers filled with grainy images making political opponents look as if they just emerged from an alley after beating a puppy. We can smirk as the TV news broadcasts are filled with 30- and 60-second interruptions that alternately make candidates look like George Washington and Osama bin Laden.

Before the merriment begins, the election filings themselves reveal a lot about the current state of politics in North Carolina.

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There’s an internet adage known as Godwin’s Law or Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies that states that the longer a topic of discussion goes on the greater the chances of comparisons to Hitler and the Nazi’s become. This concept is similar to Reductio ad Hitlerum coined in 1953 by political philosopher Leo Strauss. If you want to criticize something in a big way – play the Hitler card.

Of course there can be valid comparisons to Nazi Germany but I try not to quickly resort to that tactic. Sometimes, however, the Hitler card is laying face up on the top of the deck.

 

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RALEIGH -- Last summer, John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, wrote eloquently about a conservative vision of public education, a vision in which parents of all income levels are given more choices about where and how to educate their children.

Those choices, he wrote, should be between competing educational enterprises -- government-run schools, independently-run charter schools with government oversight, non-profit private schools and home schools. In each case, some kind of taxpayer support -- whether vouchers, tax credits or other assistance -- would back those choices.

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